Shrub or small tree, 1-3 m high; usually densely papillose when young, then glabrescent. Stem loosely branched, at base up to 5 cm thick, with smooth grey bark; woody branches erect to ascending, soon turning milky white. Terminal and subterminal annual shoots very long, erect, in upper part producing loose spikes; lateral shoots much shorter, with more condensed leaves and flowers. Leaves semi-terete to terete, straight, ascending, the longest often pendant, in lower part 30-80 x 0.5-1.5 mm, in upper part shorter, apiculate, basal constriction 1-1.5 mm long. Bracts spreading, leaf-like, (3)5-15(20) mm long, at base with hyaline, sometimes ciliate margins, always much longer than bracteoles and tepals. Bracteoles cucullate, ovate or circular in outline, usually apiculate and obtusely keeled in upper part, with wide hyaline and ciliate wing-like margins embracing the flower, 1.2-2 x 3.5-4.5 mm, 1/3-1/2 as long as tepals. Tepals triangular to ovate, in upper part often ligulate, 3.5-4.5 mm long, the outer 1.7-2.5 mm wide, 7-11-veined, without midrib in upper part, the others 3-5-veined, the hyaline margins up to 2/3 ciliate, apex rounded or apiculate, back without distinct green blotch, warty to papillose, transverse line at 1/7-1/10. Anthers 2-2.5 mm long, divided up to 1/2; appendage 0.4-0.5 mm long, narrow triangular, flat, smooth; filaments linear, 3 x 0,3 mm; disc lobes semi-circular, 0.4 mm long, densely papillose. Style conical, 1-1.5 mm long; stigmas 2, recurved, 1-1.2 mm long, flat up to apex, 0.3-0.4 mm wide, inner side short and densely papillose, red. Fruiting perianth 14-18 mm diam., translucent, 2 inner wings much narrower, linear to spathulate; tepals above the wings first incurved and forming a broad, indurated, circular bulge, then more or less recurved, often forming an open funnel. Utricle 2-3 mm diam., with slightly hardened cap; horizontal.